Sri Lanka thumps UAE while Oman sets a historic upset against Ireland

Wanindu Hasaranga’s six-fer helps Sri Lanka pull off a stunning win versus UAE.

Sri Lanka enforced a thumping defeat against UAE, winning by a margin of 175 runs in their first game of the 2023 World Cup Qualifiers while Oman stunned full-member nation, Ireland by five wickets in Bulayawo.

Match 1: Sri Lanka vs UAE

Sri Lanka kicked off the World Cup Qualifiers in the very ‘Asian Champion’ way after steamrolling UAE in match 3 of the ongoing competition at Queen Sports Club, Bulawayo.

Winning the toss, UAE skipper Muhammad Waseem won the toss and opted to field first. Sri Lanka got off to a solid start on the back of the opening pair of Pathum Nissanka and Dimuth Karunaratne. Both men got off to the fifty runs stand and glued 95 runs together. It was followed by another scintillating innings, from Kusal Mendis (78) and then Sadeera Samarawickrama (73) joined the party as well. 

The Island nation recorded healthy partnerships on a regular basis on the back of their top five batters. While Nissanka and Mendis stitched the highest partnership of the match – 105 runs for the second wicket, Charith Asalanka (48) and Wanindu Hasaranga’s quickfire ensured a smooth finish, taking the tally to 355-6.

Arriving for the mammoth chase, UAE got a decent start and was on 81-1 after one point. Muhammed Waseem, Rohan Mustafa, and Vriitya Aravind gave a start but the middle and lower middle order failed to carry the momentum forward. 

As soon as the Sri Lankan spinners were introduced, the UAE batters found it tricky and faltered through the run-chase. Wanindu Hasaranga wreaked havoc in their batting order and ran riot with a six-fer under his name. Dhananjaya de Silva and Maheesh Theekshana accompanied him snapping one wicket each. 

Although Rameez Shahzad and Ali Naseer tried to withstand the Lankan attack, the asking amount was like a huge mountain for the duo to climb. They could negate the Lankan attack for quite some time, ticking 48 runs before widening the crack which lead to an all-over folding. Eventually, Sri Lanka earned a thumping victory by a margin of 175 runs.

The Dasun Shanaka-led unit will be rubbing shoulders with Oman on June 23 in their next chapter while UAE will be squaring off with the same opposition two days ahead of Sri Lanka.

Match 2: Ireland vs Oman

History was created as lower-ranked Oman defeated a full-member nation- Ireland in their season opener at Bulawayo by a margin of five wickets and eleven balls to spare. The Asian side arrived on the back of a preparatory camp against a South African domestic side whom they defeated 4-1 and were all set for action.

Zeeshan Maqsood, the Oman skipper won the toss and elected to bowl first in quest of some early lateral movements. As expressed earlier, Andy McBrine walked out to open the batting alongside Paul Stirling. 

The pair played some elegant strokes and touched the 50-run mark together. Just at the end of the 9th over, left-arm pacer, Bilal Khan got the better of Stirling, outsmarting the veteran with a luring short ball. It was followed by the wicket of Andy McBrine who was dismissed in the immediate next delivery. 

The Irish skipper, Andrew Balbirnie looked to negate the combination of spin and pace alongside Harry Tector but the former was outwitted by the opposition skipper. Lorcan Tucker arrived on the scene and played some charismatic shots but was cleaned up by Ayaan Khan in the 21st over. 

A 79-run partnership between Tector and George Dockrell steadied the ship for Ireland where the former managed to notch crucial 52 runs. The lower order failed to step up and it was Dockrell who was driving the cart at the slog-over phase of the game. He went on to smack the looseners and touched the 91-run mark with a six off the ultimate ball of the innings. 

Pacers- Bilal Khan and Fayyaz Butt bagged two wickets each while the spinners- Ayaan Khan, Zeeshan Maqsood, and Jay Odedra picked a solitary piece each. 

Oman scripts history by defeating Ireland by five wickets

Arriving for a chase of 282 runs, Oman was put under immediate pressure after Mark Adair removed Jatinder Singh in the fourth over. The united front of Kashyap Prajapati and Aqib Ilyas came into the scene, stabilizing the innings with a 94-run partnership for the second wicket. 

The duo took their time to settle in, rotated the strike well, and switched gears with time. While Ilyas departed for 52 (49), skipper Zeeshan Maqsood proved to be the torch bearer. He continued the momentum and denied the Irish bowlers alongside Prajapati and they chalked 63 runs together which was further followed by another fifty-plus partnership which included Mohammad Nadeem after Prajapati was trapped by Joshua Little.

There was a brink of hope when Joshua Little removed the skipper Zeeshan Maqsood but Nadeem denied them with a few flamboyant strokes. The middle order laid the bedrock for the chase and it was a matter of time before Ayaan Khan and Shoaib Khan steer the Asian side past the finishing line, with 11 balls to spare. Joshua Little and Mark Adair were the most successful bowlers for the Irish side as they bucketed two wickets each. George Dockrell grabbed a solitary piece.

Oman will be facing UAE in their next assignment in match no. 8 at the same venue while the men in green will be up against the Scottish warriors in match 7 at the Queen Sports Club.